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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Jerry Gill

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232

In front of me is a photo of a spiral galaxy 200,000 light years across called "NGC 1232." It's about twice the size of the Milky Way. As with most galaxies, it contains billions of stars and probably millions of planets. The universe contains billions and trillions of these and other types of galaxies.

hot night

As I look at it, I imagine NGC 1232 to be our own rather miniscule galaxy. I wonder where in that immensity our solar system would be, with its tiny grain of sand known as the Planet Earth.

the bullfrog
seeming to peer into the depths
of nothing-at-all

Yet on this tiny grain of sand, surrounded by this incalculable immensity, Mozart and Shakespeare and Dante and Plato and Mother Theresa and Michelangelo and Basho and Jesus Christ and Gandhi and even yours truly were born and lived and breathed and labored and often gazed up into the immensity above and around us and perhaps even on NGC 1232 "way up there somewhere."

a winter mallard
asleep on the riverbank
one eye wide open